Biography

Peter is Professor of Organization & Management at Emory University and was the founding Academic Director of Social Enterprise @ Goizueta. He also serves as Academic Director of Specialty Coffee Programs for The Roberto C. Goizueta Business & Society Institute.

His research interests relate to how the behavior and performance of organizations evolve over time. Currently, he directs his interests in entrepreneurship and organizational performance toward topics in the field of social enterprise. His current projects focus on social entrepreneurs and accelerators, on microbusiness development, and on the global specialty coffee industry.

For the past several years, he has been cultivating several programs which focus on making markets work for more people, in more places, in more ways. This led to the establishment of the global Entrepreneurship Database Program, the Start:ME accelerator program, and the Transparent Trade Coffee and Grounds for Empowerment programs.

Peter's Ph.D. is from the University of Alberta. Before taking up his current position at Emory University, Peter served on the faculties of Columbia University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Education

  • PhD
    University of Alberta
    1996
  • MA
    University of Alberta
    1989
  • BA
    Queen's University
    1988

In the News

  • April 1, 2020
    Daily Coffee News
    The COVID-19 pandemic is a genuine global health crisis that deserves all the world’s current attention and sacrifice. However, the rapid emergence of this global crisis does not make the coffee price crisis go away. For many people and businesses, it simply puts it out of focus.
  • July 31, 2019
    Forbes
    Just how well are impact accelerators performing globally? Are they benefiting social enterprises or not? The answer, according to a new book, is they’re helpful in growing ventures’ revenues. But only a small portion of entrepreneurs enrolled in these programs experience growth. And to be successful, accelerators have to adapt their structures to the local entrepreneurial environment, especially in emerging markets.
  • April 19, 2018
    Perfect Daily Grind
    There are real concerns about the future of specialty coffee. And one of the most pressing is the incredibly low incomes earned by coffee producers. Yet it is one thing to recognize that green specialty coffee prices need to be higher. It is another to determine appropriate prices. Doing so requires greater pricing transparency, something that some specialty roasters are working towards. However, there are several challenges in the way of its widespread adoption. Allow me to discuss them – along with five actions that will make pricing transparency more attractive and feasible for roasters as well as producers.
  • January 16, 2018
    Stanford Social Innovation Review
    In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the idea of stimulating entrepreneurship in order to expand economic opportunity has become increasingly popular. Although these conversations tend to focus on companies that aspire to become national or global players, we must not overlook the aggregate contributions of microbusinesses—those with fewer than five employees.
  • June 2, 2016
    Financial Times
    Despite consumer demand for specialty or gourmet coffee surging over the past few years, the price that growers receive in most cases have been a fraction of that.
  • March 28, 2016
    Devex
    It kind of goes against the notion of value added,” said report co-author Peter Roberts, a professor and the academic director of social enterprise at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He said it may be a challenge for accelerators to accept that they are still doing their jobs even if they are not filling every minute with programming.
  • January 28, 2016
    Devex
    With the fair trade movement at a crossroads, coffee roasters and retailers are looking at alternatives to trace the source of their beans — from adopting other certifications or developing programs of their own. Devex takes a look at how the development community can best support the approaches that best serve coffee farmers.
  • August 6, 2015
    The Wall Street Journal
    "Consumer demand for better-tasting coffee is splitting the coffee market in two. A growing number of coffee roasters that deal in small farm-produced and best-flavored coffees are leaving the traditional, and more volatile, futures market, which they say has become so disconnected from their business models that it is no longer useful to manage risk.”
  • April 10, 2015
    The Accelerators: Wall Street Journal Blog
    "We often get asked certain questions about accelerator programs: Do they contribute to revenue growth? Do they help companies attract investment? Do they work as well for developing-world impact entrepreneurs as they do for developed-world tech entrepreneurs? But, unfortunately, the only credible answer we have right now is: 'No one really knows.’”